Wisconsin Senate to consider several Republican-backed proposals Tuesday

Wisconsin Republicans are proposing a pair of changes to the state’s constitution.
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:18 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Senate will vote Tuesday on several Republican-backed proposals, including amendments to the state constitution.

The Wisconsin Senate is poised to pass a resolution calling for a convention of the states to consider making changes to the U.S. Constitution, an effort backed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. The full Wisconsin Legislature in 2017 passed a resolution that allowed for calling a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment.

The latest proposal up Tuesday, which the Assembly passed last year, is more expansive. It allows for the convention to consider three things: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government; limiting the federal government’s powers and jurisdiction; and imposing term limits for members of Congress and other federal officials.

The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment that says only citizens can vote in elections. The Republican-authored amendment up Tuesday must pass the Assembly this year and both houses of the Legislature next session before it would go to voters to decide. The governor has no power to veto constitutional amendments.

The Wisconsin Constitution guarantees that every U.S. citizen age 18 and over is a qualified elector. But it does not specifically say that only U.S. citizens are qualified to vote in state or local elections. Republican backers of the measure say that ambiguity needs to be fixed through a constitutional amendment.

The power to spend federal money sent to Wisconsin would be taken away from the governor and given to the Legislature under a proposed constitutional amendment the state Senate was to approve Tuesday. The Republican-authored proposal must pass the Assembly this year, and both houses again next session, before it would be put to voters for final approval.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers did veto a Republican bill last year that would have required the Legislature to sign off on his plans for spending $4.5 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money coming to the state.

Another Republican proposal up for vote Tuesday is one that would prohibit Wisconsin public schools from teaching students and training employees about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias. Gov. Evers will almost certainly veto the measure, which the GOP-controlled Assembly passed on a party line vote in September. The measure up for Senate approval Tuesday has no Democratic co-sponsors, but they don’t have the votes to stop it in the Legislature. Republicans don’t have the votes to override the expected Evers veto.

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